When I was a little girl I loved visiting my fisherman uncle’s home.
Mahmut uncle lived in a two storey building with a cute garden. His wife had a lot of plants in their garden. There was always fish nets waiting to be mend in the garden next to old fisherman boat. A fat yellow cat who protected their fish from other street cats. Mahmut uncle’s son also had habit to feed pigeons on the roof. They had gorgeous pigeons, white, brown, with tiny bright eyes and shiny feathers.
There were colorful blooming flowers in the garden. I used to touch forest like lush green plants. One of them was my favorite. They called in Turkish “Küs çiçeği” . The sensitive plant. It was like a magic at the age of 7. I used to touch the leaves, they were all closing in a few seconds. I was keen on watching the leaves’ movements. Years later I learned the name of this amazing flower “Mimosa pudica”. Apparently there are over 300 species of Mimosa that belong to the bean (pea) family Leguminosae.
Mimosa pudica is a perennial but is often cultivated as an annual in gardens. The shrubby plant will grow to 18 inches outdoors with hairy and spiny stems. Its flowers resemble little purplish puffs that give rise to ½ inch-long pods containing 3 – 4 seeds. In the evening the leaflets fold together and the whole leaf droops downward until sunrise. Also the plant’s leaves will react to your touch. If you want to grow this flower, be aware the plant grows to a height of up to 5 feet tall. You should provide an area of full sunlight.
• Scientific name: Mimosa pudica L.
• Common name(s): sensitive plant, touch-me-not plant, humble plant, shameful plant (English); Küs çiçeği (in Turkish)
• Habitat: Open waste ground within tropical vegetation in its native range.
Mimosa means a mimic, alluding to the fact that the leaves are sensitive (Greek).
Pudica means bashful, retiring, shrinking (Latin).